Weekly Intelligence Brief: March 26 – April 2

This week’s CSP Today news brief includes SolarReserve, Saguache County, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne; Shams Power Company, Masdar, Total, Abengoa; Masdar, Mubadala Development Company; Solar Millennium, Solar Trust of America, Solarhybrid; Heritage Global Partners, Stirling Energy Systems.

SolarReserve clinches final permit for Colorado project

Santa Monica, California-based solar energy project development company SolarReserve has gained its final 1041 Permit from the Saguache County Board of County Commissioners for its two 100MW solar thermal energy facilities proposed for Saguache County.

The Saguache Solar Energy project will have the capacity to store up to 15 hours of solar energy. It is located on private agricultural land about six miles northeast of the Town of Center in Saguache County, Colorado. The company will utilise its solar energy storage technology.

The project will create more than 450 direct jobs per facility at the peak of the 30-month construction period, as well as 45-50 permanent operations and maintenance jobs for each of the two power plants.

In addition, the two-facility project has an annual operating budget estimated at more than $10 million for salaries and maintenance and is forecasted to generate more than $30 million in sales and property tax revenues over the project’s operating period.

The company holds the exclusive worldwide license to the molten salt, solar power tower technology developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

 

Yousif Ahmed Al-Ali appointed as GM for Shams 1

Shams Power Company has appointed Yousif Ahmed Al-Ali as its General Manager.

The company, a joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa (20%) which is responsible for developing the 100MW Shams 1 CSP plant, shared that Al-Ali will be responsible for directing, managing and coordinating all development and operational activities related to the CSP plant.

The plant will be located in Madinat Zayed, approximately 120 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Construction began during Q3 2010 and the expected closure of the same is two years. As one of Masdar’s flagship projects, Shams 1 will directly contribute toward Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 7% renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020.

The company accomplished the financial close for the same project in March last year. The US$600 million closing was termed as the largest solar project transaction then and it combined financing from 10 regional and international lenders.

Shams 1 lenders included BNP Paribas, KfW, Mizuho, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Natixis, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Toyko-Mitsubishi, Union National Bank and WestLB. BNP Paribas acted as financial advisor

 

British Parliamentarians and US Cong staff visit Masdar  

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar has announced that it met with two delegations - a British Parliamentary delegation and a US Congressional team - on two separate occasions.

The delegates discussed opportunities of collaboration with Masdar, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company.

Masdar, which provides an insights into advancements in the development, commercialisation and deployment of clean technologies and solutions during such meetings, shared that 10 British Parliamentarians visited Masdar on April 1, led by Lord Howard of Lympne CH QC, the Chairman of the UAE All Party Parliamentary Group which consists of 80 parliamentarians with an interest in the UAE from all parties in both Houses of the UK Parliament.

The US delegation included 10 members of the US Congressional staff, led by Aaron Cutler, Deputy Policy Director and Counsel, House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The visitors were given a tour of Masdar Institute and Masdar City. They were briefed on the status of the various clean technology projects undertaken by Masdar. The list of Masdar projects’ include the 100MW concentrated solar power plant Shams One; the 50MW each Valle 1 and 2 CSP plants in Spain; and the 1GW London Array offshore wind farm.

 

Solarhybrid insolvency triggers reshuffle at STA
German solar thermal power specialist Solar Millennium’s insolvency administrator, Volker Böhm, has initiated a change in the management team of the insolvent Group’s US investments.

The development emerged as solarhybrid recently decided to file for the opening of insolvency proceedings.

Solarhybrid said the proposed changes to the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which reduces the feed-in tariff for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by more than 30%, and which could eliminate the support for installations over 10 MWp, would significantly erode its profitability.

The US business of Solar Millennium AG was sold to Solarhybrid in February this year. This averted bankruptcy from Solar Millennium’s American interests in the short term.

The rapid sale was possible due to negotiations with Solarhybrid having been initiated some months before Solar Millennium AG filed for insolvency. Since solarhybrid itself was forced to file for insolvency a few days ago, before having complied with open contingent contractual conditions, Boehm took new measures.

As a result of this move, the previous Director, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Solar Trust of America (STA) Uwe Schmidt was released from his offices with immediate effect.

New management structures are to come into effect both at STA as well as at Solar Millennium Inc. in the near future.

Solar Millennium Inc. served Solar Millennium AG to bundle its US American interests, particularly the 70% stake in Solar Trust of America and the Blythe Solar Power Project.

 

Maricopa Solar assets to be auctioned

Asset advisory and auction services firm Heritage Global Partners will conduct a global webcast bulk auction of Maricopa Solar’s assets on April 17.

Heritage Global Partners shared that this bulk and piecemeal offering of Maricopa Solar will feature a complete 1.5 MW solar thermal farm to include 60 Stirling Energy SunCatcher Solar Dish Engine Systems and related support equipment including Switchgear and telecom assets.

The official opening of the Maricopa Solar power plant in Phoenix, Arizona was announced in January 2010. Maricopa Solar was the first commercial project for the SunCatcher concentrating solar power technology designed and manufactured by Stirling Energy Systems (SES). As per the information available, Stirling filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last year.